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Shimei the Benjamite
by Wayne Blank
"Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed The Lord's anointed?"
When David was forced to flee Jerusalem during an attempted coup by his own son Absalom, Shimei, thinking that David's days as king were over, vented his rage at David - which David humbly submitted himself to.
"And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones [see also Stoning] at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: The Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and The Lord hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man."
After the defeat of Absalom (see also Absalom's Advisors) and the return of King David, Shimei repented to David and David forgave him - but in doing so David did not become blind to the danger that Shimei continued to present until the next opportunity to participate in an overthrow of David.
"And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite, which was of Bahurim, hasted and came down with the men of Judah to meet king David. And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over Jordan before the king. And there went over a ferry boat to carry over the king's household, and to do what he thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was come over Jordan; And said unto the king, Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember that which thy servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart. For thy servant doth know that I have sinned: therefore, behold, I am come the first this day of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king."
Despite the insistence of many of his true loyalists to do so, David refused to kill Shimei - but when the time came that David was about to die of old age, he warned his son and successor Solomon about the danger that Shimei's opposition continued to present to the throne of Israel which had been chosen directly by The Lord (Solomon was faced with other threats at the same time, some right from within his own family - see Abishag). Unlike his father David, Solomon was not a warrior, but like his father David, Solomon was no fool when it came to political reality (see Royal Democracy).
"And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by The Lord, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword. Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood." (1 Kings 2:8-9 KJV)
Solomon bided his time and simply allowed the treacherous Shimei to create the circumstance for his own lawful elimination.
"And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Build thee an house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth thence any whither. For it shall be, that on the day thou goest out, and passest over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die: thy blood shall be upon thine own head. And Shimei said unto the king, The saying is good: as my lord the king hath said, so will thy servant do. And Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days."
Fact Finder: Why did The Lord replace King Saul with King David?